Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back to School Tips Linky Party

Hello!

It's almost time to go back to school for some teachers! Well, I still have another month before I go back, but that doesn't mean I'm not already thinking about it!

Today, I am linking up with Hanging around Primary and Pop into Primary for a Back to School tip!


Three years ago, I was preparing for my first Open House as a teacher! I had a welcome letter, student information sheet, parent contact information, name tags, and transportation tags all set up on each student's desk. Open House came and went and I felt like a prepared, successful teacher! The first few weeks of school flew by, and one day, a new student, his mom, and the office assistant showed up at my door in the middle of a lesson. I had no idea that I would get a new student that day, and I felt so unprepared. I had to stop my lesson to greet the mom and new student. I realized I didn't have extra copies of my welcome letter, didn't know where I had put those extra name tags, and ran out of transportation tags. I told the mom I would send home more information in his backpack, and she could fill it out and return it to me the next day. 

A new student can walk in your door at any point in the year. It has happened to me many times, most of those times with no prior warning from the front office. It is always better to be prepared and ready for those new "surprise!" students. 

So, I found this pin and it has helped me be super prepared throughout the school year! 

 Click the image to pin it or click here to find the original post that I found it. This is not a picture that I took, just one I found on Pinterest. 

New Student Ready to Go Bags! 

While I am printing out Open House information, and writing names on all the bajillion things their names need to be written on, I set aside 3-5 copies of everything. I put it all in a bag and label it New Student #1. #2, and so forth. 

Examples of things that I put in each New Student's bag: 

Things that get sent home: 
-Welcome Letter
-School Information/Handbook
-Student Information Sheet 
-Parent Contact Information Sheet
-Student Contract
-Transportation Tags

Things that I take out to write their name and add to our classroom: 
-Birthday Candle 
-Desk Nametag
-Cubby Nametag
-Clothespins for behavior chart, transportation chart, wall work, etc.
-Labels for Folders

Once I have everything in the bag, I put them in a super important place, that I will not forget. Then, a few days, weeks, or months down the road, when that new student is at your door, I am ready. I can hand the parents the information that they can take home to look over and fill out important information that I need. This gives the parents a great first impression of their new teacher. I don't have to search my classroom for extras of everything. I can write the student's name on everything at some point in the day. And then I don't have to worry about it! 

I have done this trick the past two years, and plan to continue to do it every year. It is so helpful, so to the teacher who first thought of this idea, THANK YOU! 










Friday, July 24, 2015

It's FriYAY and that means FREEBIE time!










Hey there! Thanks for stopping by! 

It's Friday, so I am giving you a FREEBIE! 


                                             

Almost a year ago, I started on TPT, not knowing how to make a CUTE product cover. So, I have been busy at work updating a lot of my covers this past week. And after learning a few new tricks, I think they are more exciting now! 

Here's what the old covers looked like...



And now... TA-DA! Thanks to some new clip art... (Thanks Creative Clips!) and some new tricks I've learned along the way, I redid almost all of my product covers!


And my CVCe Fluency Roll and Read is FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store! Just click on the picture to get the product for yourself. 

Roll and Read is a great way to practice fluency at a Word Work Center or as an "I'm Done" task. I put these in a binder in sheet protectors for the students to use again and again. I call it the Fluency Binder and the students love working in it. They get to use one of those BIG foam dice and a "pretty" Expo marker (pink, purple, or turquoise!) to mark off the words they've read. When they finish one page, they can work on another! I also have a Digraph and Vowel Digraph version! 

And if you download this freebie, please leave some love on the feedback page! I enjoy reading all the feedback I get for my products! Plus you get TPT credits whenever you leave feedback! It's like free money for your nice words! 

Hope you are having a wonderful summer OR back to school week! 



















Wednesday, July 22, 2015

All About This Kinder Teacher!

Hey there! 

Today, I am linking up with the brand new Kinder Tribe! I am so excited for this Kindergarten Teacher Collaborative blog to take off! 


So, here is more about me! 


I am a VERY new blogger, and after recently discovering Linky Parties, my blog views have shot through the roof! I can't thank you enough for visiting my blog to read more about me and my love for teaching!

This will be my third year in Kindergarten. My first year I taught 2nd Grade, and as I loved my students, I just knew it wasn't quite where I belonged. I have always wanted to teach Kindergarten, and I am SO thankful for admin who decided that K is where I belong! After moving to California, I recently got a job for Kindergarten! I am so thankful for the opportunity to continue teaching Kindergarten!


I can't live without my STARBUCKS! Well, coffee in general. I can't start my day without it! Only another month until Pumpkin Spice Lattes return! Pumpkin Spice Lattes ARE my favorite part of Fall.



My favorite book to read to my Kinders is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Back when I was in Kindergarten (20 years ago!), I remember my teacher reading us this story and making a fun craft. It's those memories that encourage me to make learning memorable with activities and crafts. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was the FIRST book I purchased and it is my favorite read aloud of the year.



 My first year in K, I spent a LOT of time reading blogs and pinning ideas. One of the first Kindergarten blogs I started reading was Miss. Kindergarten! I love her ideas, products, and just reading her blog. She is fabulous! Check her out!

Miss Kindergarten

My favorite part of teaching Kindergarten is seeing their love for learning BLOSSOM! When that lightbulb in their head lights up, or they read their first CVC word, those are the moments I teach for. I cherish all the hugs, love notes, smiles, and laughs, that come with those sweet Kindergarteners. There's no place I'd rather be than K.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Five for Friday! {and a FREEBIE}

Happy Friday! 

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my FIRST ever linky party! Shout out to 1st Grade Love for helping me with the steps to link up! 


So here it goes! 
I love Fridays SO MUCH! Here is my FriYAY Freebie from my newest Chevron Decor Set! This summer I am completing an entire Chevron Decor Set to use in my classroom. As I finish each part, I am uploading them to my TpT store. In a few weeks, I will have a discounted bundle up in my store! 

I know some of you will be going back to school very soon, so this is a perfect option for your Classroom Calendar. I just bought a blank calendar (Thank you Target Dollar Spot!) and plan to use this set for my calendar time. Why spend twenty plus dollars on something you can have a chevron chic one for only $5 (including the $1 blank calendar)?!? Here is the full set! 


Check out my Days of the Week Freebie by clicking on the picture. I even included the Yesterday was, Today is, and Tomorrow will be signs.


Yesterday, I got the keys to my new classroom! I just moved to California less than a month ago, without a job, and I couldn't be more thankful that I now have one! And it gets better because I will be teaching KINDERGARTEN! K is definitely where my heart is and I absolutely adore my Kinder little ones. 

As I was looking at my TimeHop, I realized that EXACTLY three years ago, I got the keys to my FIRST classroom! What a coincidence! My new classroom has desks instead of tables, which I have never had for Kindergarten. When I taught 2nd Grade, I HATED the desks. SO I will have to work on some organization expectations for their desks. 

Here is a then and now of my classrooms! 

Ready for a YUMMY and HEALTHY recipe? This is my favorite easy breakfast recipe for summer mornings. I love it so much, in fact, I have made it 3 times this week! 

Easy Peasy Three Ingredient Pancakes!

1. Ingredients: A RIPE banana, 2 eggs, and cinnamon. 
2. Mash the RIPE banana. 
3. Mix the mashed banana and 2 eggs. {It will be lumpy, don't worry}
4. Put a dab of coconut oil or butter on pan, heated on a low setting. Pour batter on the pan. 
5. After about 2 minutes, flip. They should be a tad browned on the one side. Watch very closely, they cook FAST! 
6. Serve with fruit, or maple syrup! 

This recipe makes about 5-8 pancakes depending on size. They are more of a crepe like consistency. It is a delicious alternative to pancakes! 

DECISIONS, DECISIONS!
I am trying to decide on my Teacher Planner for this upcoming school year. I used to use my Lilly Pulitzer Planner, but I need something more suited for teachers, after barely using it this past year. So, after lots and lots of research, I am stuck between Plum Paper and Erin Condren. I have read 10 different articles about which one is better and can't quite come to a conclusion...

Pros: Plum Paper has a lot of really cute covers(especially my favorite-anchors!) and customizable subject tabs. EC has a gorgeous design inside, a sturdy cover, and lots of extras (like that zipped pouch). Plus 25% off until Sunday!

Cons: Plum Paper has this weird frosty cover over the front cover. I am not too crazy about the inside, it is kinda plain. EC does not have as many options for covers and you have to write in the subjects in the planning area. 

I think I'm leaning more towards Erin Condren, but I am not buying until later today and when I am 100% sure! 
I'd love to hear your opinion! 
Here's a cute picture of my dog, Jack! He is loving California and the view just as much as I am! I am definitely not used to seeing mountains in my morning view! 

YAY! That's my first Five for Friday Linky Post!




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Using Pinterest to Plan!

Raise your hand if you LOVE Pinterest as much as I do!
 I am going to show you how to use your Pinterest to help you plan SMARTER! 


My love for Pinterest started back in 2011, while I was doing my student teaching internship. It made my OCD heart so happy! I pinned for hours on end, from DIY crafts to my future home. Once I realized what a HUGE impact this could have on teaching, I was hooked. Through Pinterest, I found Teachers Pay Teachers and other bloggers for ideas and inspiration for my classroom. It was most definitely my #1 go to my first year teaching when my brain couldn't brainstorm anymore. 

But, it can become such a cluttered, disorganized, HOT MESS. I would pin something to use for Christmas time, but when Christmas time would come, I would either a. forgot I pinned it in the first place or b. go to repin the same thing that I already pinned. Sometimes, I would search forever for that ONE idea that I just couldn't find! I'm sure we have all had that pin that just disappeared.

And my boards...well those didn't exactly help me too much. I had a Teaching Ideas board, then when I switched to Kindergarten, I made a Kindergarten board. That one had probably 500 pins before I realized, I should make different boards for each subject! So I made a Holidays board, Reading board, and Math board. But it still didn't help. 

This is what it used to look like...

Yikes!

After creating my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I decided to create a Pinterest solely for teaching! And then the lightbulb went on in my head! I could use Pinterest to PLAN my monthly themes! Since I teach Kindergarten, I love to have monthly/holiday themes. They are crafts, activities, lesson ideas, and worksheets that are all crammed into file folders. I pull each file out each month, and then search TPT and Pinterest for new ideas. 

This year, my themes are all organized by month on Pinterest! For example, my September board has apples, fall leaves, transportation, and Johnny Appleseed, since those are the themes I use during September. Now, when I plan for September, I haul out my folders and open up Pinterest to my September board and plan the whole month. (I typically plan Reading and Math on a bi-weekly basis, and my Science/Social Studies and themes on a monthly basis)

I even created a pretty cover using Power Point, so I could find each board easily. 
**Quick tip: To create a picture file, just save your Power Point slide as .jpeg)**



Here is what it looks like now


I also organized my other boards based on subjects! 


And here is what my monthly theme boards look like now! 
(Ignore the Social Studies one...I have to start pinning there!)



OR you can click on my Pinterest link to see my profile and follow me. 

How does Pinterest work for you? I'd love to hear your ideas! 


Friday, July 10, 2015

Morning Work Made Easy! {A FriYAY Freebie!}

Hello there! 

Recently I have updated my Morning Work Binder for Kindergarten. It looks MUCH better with a new cover and I fixed a few minor boo boos. This was one of my very first products I created on TpT, so it needed a little TLC. I would definitely say that this is my most popular selling product and I hope that it helps you as much as it helps me. There is also a D'Nealian version and a First Grade edition! 

Since it's FriYAY, I have included a freebie for you to download to try it out.


On my Q&A board, I was asked, 

 "I just bought your rise and shine dnealian. I look forward to using it, but I was wondering if you could share how you teach the students to be independent with it. Do you tell them which pages they need to do each day? I love the idea just struggling how I am going to implement it." 

 I provided her with a quick response, but thought that I should write a more detailed post about the Morning Work Binder. That way everyone can see how it worked in my classroom. Of course, EVERY class is different. This is what worked for me and my class this year, but it might not go exactly well with your class. Hey I might even have to tweak it a little each year. You will figure out what's BEST for you and your class. 

 So...why did I create this???


A little background on my idea: 

I created this Morning Work binder after the headache of "What do I do in the morning to keep my students busy without too many questions, so I can do the fifty million things I have to finish before 8:00?"

I had tried everything: whiteboards, reading at your seat, worksheets, sight word flashcards, etc. I was tired of making copies and trying to keep my early students occupied while I was helping the later students arrive and get settled. Worksheets didn't always work because I would have the earlier finishers, and the ones who were still working although I wanted to start our day. There wouldn't be time to finish later and half of the worksheets would be thrown away. What a waste of paper! The books, flashcards, whiteboards, etc became a headache with students becoming bored, drawing on the whiteboards, not having the right sight words, etc. I was sick and tired of the morning work dilemma.



After some research, I had found an idea on Pinterest, where the students used wipe off sheets that were laminated in a binder as an idea for a handwriting center. I tweaked the idea to do the same thing but during the morning work time. I spent last summer making a template, tested it out with the new kiddos, then made it into a TpT product. And it WORKS like a charm! 


To make the Morning Work Binder:

 I use 1/2 inch binders and sheet protectors, rather than laminating. I always ask the parents to donate sheet protectors and I had bought a class set of 1/2 inch binders for this purpose. A few sheet protectors may have to be replaced throughout the year, but there is minimal upkeep involved. I did not print out every single page, but rather focused on handwriting, writing their name, sight words, and numbers for the beginning of the year. Halfway through, I added the hundreds chart, calendar, word families, and phonics pages. I also have additional "worksheets" that I would pull on some Fridays, or if we had extra time that morning to work. 



If you have parent volunteers, this is a great job for them to do in the beginning of the year. 

Here is a student working in their Morning Work Binder. I also added a few of my Calendar Journal pages to the binder.
How to implement it in your classroom: 

First of all, strong classroom management and procedures go a LOOOOOOONG way when working through your day. In the beginning of the year, I have everything planned out to the minute and procedures to go along with every part of the day. So, when implementing your Morning Work Binder, you have to have a SOLID procedure. It will save a lot of time answering silly questions or students being off task. 

Here is my morning procedure with the morning work binder. 

1. Students come in, greet the teacher, and unpack their backpack. 
2. Students take out their Morning Work Binder and look at the board to see which page they are working on. (I put it on the SMART Board, under the Doc Cam, or hang it on the whiteboard.) 
3. Students get a black expo marker and start working. 
4. When it it time to start the day, they will have a 1 minute clean up timer. They will clean up their binders, put them back where they belong and make sure they close up the marker caps tightly. Last, they will sit on the carpet. 

We also establish these expectations: 

-If they have questions about what to do, they "Ask 3, then me". There is always a student who can help them, before they ask me.
-If they finish, they either do the page again, for example the handwriting pages can be erased and worked on again. Or, they make work on a handwriting or numbers page. Sometimes I will write a "Must Do, Can Do" on the board. 

*Must Do: Sight Word of the Day- the. 
*Can Do: Handwriting Pages Lower Case f-j 



How to teach your students to work on it independently: 

It's Kindergarten and it will take time and patience until the students are able to work on it independently. Be patient and be flexible. I didn't start using it until about 2 weeks into the school year. I wanted the students to be "pro's" at their morning procedure. Adding the Morning Work was easy. 

The first day I showed them the binder and explained why they would be working on it everyday. They were SO excited to use Expo markers and to get their own binder. We flipped through the pages and talked about what to do on each page briefly. 

Every day, I would show them how to work on a new page during our Reading Whole Group time. We would work on it together a few times, answer any questions they had, and quickly go over the procedure. The next morning, they would do that same page from the day before. By this time, they were able to do it almost independently. This process took about 2 weeks, but after those two weeks, they were pros! 

And here is a page from the Morning Work Binder for FREE! Just click on the picture.
Comment below and let me know how you use it in your classroom!